Nobody can ever accuse Jon M. Chu (the director not the “M”-less funny guy from Harold and Khumar) of not showing diversity. He began his career with back to back Step Up movies, then did a Justin Bieber documentary and is currently working on G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which last time we saw it was actually looking way better than the first. All he has to do now is throw in a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com or some lame slasher film starring some actress with more cleavage than acting ability and he would have covered all bases.
Before any of that though, he has the task of bringing He-Man and the Masters of Universe, a classic 80’s toy line/cartoon/movie that introduced Courtney Cox, to a whole new generation.
“I was approached about doing a Masters of the Universe movie and while at first I was skeptical. I read the script and I was blown away. I had no idea what to expect but it was such a fresh, UNEXPECTED approach I was immediately intrigued. I never expected to connect on a human level to a MOTU movie but I really plugged in emotionally. That alone, got me excited to see what we could do with the property.”
I have to admit, while I loved the toys, cartoons and movie growing up, I’ve never really connected on an emotional level to the characters except for the universe eliciting quite a sense of fun and wide-eyed wonder. I sincerely hope that this script doesn’t ditch that hoky charm that He-Man has, in favour of maturing it up.
Chu did mention that they were still not sure of the direction and tone that they planned to take, but that they were exploring all options.
“I feel like there’s a lot of room to crack open the Masters of the Universe story. We are still in our process and I think we have some great seeds planted but making one of these types of movies RIGHT takes a lot of TONAL tightroping so we’re just going to play for the next several months. Play with designs, play with the characters, try new things, maybe go too far on some things and pull back. The process is really important to find where the right line is so we can land right on it. I think that’s what can dig out the properties full potential for a cinematic rebirth.”
Hopefully though, that rebirth doesn’t involve a complete dismantling of what we know and love. Luckily, the one assurance we have, is that Chu appears to be just as much of a fan as some of us are.
“I LOVED the toys growing up. I had Grayskull, I had BattleCat/Cringer, I had Stratos and Orko and obviously He-Man and Skeletor. I also watched the cartoon a lot growing up. This is my era, so going to Mattel to visit their headquarters was like walking into a childhood fantasy. For every MOTU fan out there, it felt like it was time and I wanted to make sure to protect it in the process.”
With today’s level of visual effects, and with the richness and depth of the He-Man universe, a big budget action adventure spectacle could certainly work. And it already has a much larger built-in audience than some of the 80’s properties that they’ve recently tried and failed to turn into blockbusters (I’m looking at your cheesy mug, Battleship).
And from what little we’ve seen thus far from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Chu certainly appears to know how to blend good visuals and action well. That movie will definitely be his proving ground and if he pulls it off, he’ll definitely get my support.
My only concern is that I have no idea who they’d cast in the role of He-Man though, as young Dolph Lundgrens don’t grow on trees, you know. Cast the Rock or Vin Diesel as He-Man, Chu, and I will hate you with the heat of a thousand suns.
Last Updated: October 18, 2012